As I get older, it amazes me how fast time seems to fly. We are now in the year 2014! It does not seem that long ago that we were beginning the year 2000 and it seemed amazing.
Much has happened in these 13 years in the world, in our own lives and in our club life. We all know what has occurred in the world and I ask you all to reflect on your own personal life and appreciate the good things. There are many!
But I am going to reflect on our club life. You will note as you read this article, that even though we have taken up the banner “CONTINUING A PROUD TRADITION,” over the years, for various reasons, some of our traditions have changed or been abandoned.
To greet the year 2000, our Entertainment Committee under chairman, Kathi Noel, offered us a “Sailabration” cruising the Caribbean, Germany and USA. We cruised aboard the SS Millennium singing and dancing to the music of the Heimatklänge Orchestra. It was a wonderful evening to celebrate an ending and a beginning with family and friends. The German Hungarians continued celebrating New Year’s Eve in our clubhouse until December 31, 2011 which was the last time we did so. Perhaps in the future, we will once again celebrate this event.
On March 25, 2000 we celebrated our 90th Anniversary. Over the years at various anniversaries and celebrations, those interested in the written word have written accounts of our past. In 1985 at our 75th Anniversary, we published a detailed account of our existence and five years later, in 1990 at our 80th Anniversary, we concentrated on the last five years. It was then decided to publish a book every five years in order to insure that the history of the UNITED GERMAN HUNGARIANS not be forgotten. We have continued this throughout the years and it is my wish that when we, oldtimers, who made this decision are no longer here, this traditions will be continued!!!
In the year 2000 our Executive Board consisted of President Werner Fricker Jr. (who was also President of the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Assoc. 1990-2002), Vice President Andrew J. Weyershaeuser, Secretary William Galgon, and Treasurer Michael Wagner, who had been elected in 1998 and had been reelected in March of 2000 and 2002. Board of Governors consisted of Chairman Werner Fricker, Heinz Guckert, Jim Pack, Joseph S. Reiter, Marlene Blank, Claudio Tovaruela, Anna Ehling, Emily Fricker, Al Nothum, Andrew Weyershaeuser, Steve Brenner, Lou Fruehauf, Julius Menhardt, John Reiter, Dennis Wilfong and Honorary Life Board Member John Weber.
Now in the year 2014 our Executive Board consists of President William Galgon (elected in 2004), Vice President Andrew J. Weyershaeuser, Secretary Janet Malofiy, and Treasurer Michael Wagner. Only four of those in 2000 remain on the Board of Governors. The Committee Chairmen have changed over the years although many remain chairmen of various committees or are now committee members. Our three Auxiliary Groups were as follows: Andrew J. Weyershaeuser, Soccer Director (still remains in this position now in 2014); Women’s Auxiliary Chairman Anna Ehling (retired from this position in 2007 and Connie Reiter was appointed and continues to today); and Janet Malofiy Chairman of Cultural Group until 2012 when Susan Hartmann took this position). Of those mentioned above John Weber, Werner Fricker and Julius Menhardt have passed away.
At the 90th Anniversary Banquet on March 25, 2000 we celebrated the winning of First Prize Plattling of our Schuhplattler Team consisting of John Reiter and Karen David, John M. Blank and Janet Malofiy, Sasha Malofiy and Susan Hartmann, Rolf Stielow and Lisa Fricker, John Hubert and Connie Reiter with Bill Simon and Chris Tokarski as alternates; Marlene Blank as Coach; and Jack Mattes as Accordionist. This prize was won at the 17. Gaufest, July 1 to 4, 1999 in St. Paul Minnesota. At the 18. Gaufest in 2001, our prizeplattling team placed 4th.In 2003 as we hosted the 19. Gaufest in Philadelphia, and we placed 2nd and were invited to Ingolstadt, Germany to compete at the “Bayerische Loewe” and placed 5th.
In 2005, always building toward the future, we added twenty three year old Michelle Galgon, seventeen year olds, Werner Fricker III and Alex Blank and sixteen year old Dan Galgon to the Preisplattling team of seasoned veterans, John, Lisa, Rolf, Susi, Ed, Karen, Janet and Connie. Since 1993 we had placed in the top four. Now we placed seventh. In 2007 at the 21. Gaufest in Hershey, PA, our Prizeplattling team of John Reiter and Connie Reiter, Alex Blank and Janet Malofiy, Rolf Stielow and Susi Hartmann, Werner Fricker III and Lisa Fricker, with alternates Bill Simon and Karen David, Dan Galgon and Nichole Blank, Maria Antoniak as accompanist and Marlene Fricker as coach won First Prize. Janet and Sasha Malofiy won First Prize in the Einzelplattler. This group prepared for a trip to Germany in 2008 to again compete for the “Bayerische Loewe” where they placed sixth. In 2009 at the 22. Gaufest in Toledo, Ohio the team placed 5th and in 2011 in Orlando, Florida at the 23. Gaufest, they placed 8th. Since 2005, the group slowly changed from the original seasoned veterans to new young and talented dancers and in 2013 at the 24. Gaufest in Sandusky Ohio, the group of eight young dancers, all under age 25 competed and placed 6th. Werner Fricker III and Allysa Reiter placed third in their age group of einzelplattlers and won a bronze medal. Steve Paul placed third and Emma Walter placed third in the youth Einzel and both received pins. It was also announced that our club would place a bid to host the 26. Gaufest in 2017. This bid will be made in May 2014. Our understanding is that another club is also making this bid.
In 2000, at the same banquet we also celebrated the winning of the USASA Open Cup Championship by our Major Soccer Team – Mike Curley assistant coach (now Head Coach), Kurt Schmidt, Bob Wilkinson (Coach), Pat McCallion, Alex Peev, Ed Woehicke, Harold Ivery, Pat Morris, Cesido Colasante, Robert Henes, Ray DeStephanis, Paul Centofanti (Captain), Joe Veneziale, Dave Steinbach, Terry Malone, Rich Million, Mark Eckert, Josh Viel, Chris Bohn, Andy Barrett, Dan Murtagh, and Dan Ryan. This occurred in St. Louis, Missouri on July 16, 17 and 18, 1999. In the year 2000 our Major Team won the Inter County League Championship and in 2001 they won the Amateur Cup Championship of Eastern PA while the Senior Women won the Region I Open Cup Championship and traveled to the National Finals in July. Our Women’s Soccer Team had been in existence for twenty five years. In the past five years they had made great strides winning fourteen consecutive state titles and numerous league championships under team coach John Koschewitz with Andy J. Weyershaeuser as manager and Walt McClinton as advisor. The team won the Region I Amateur Title for 2002 and were runners up and Silver Medal winners of the US Amateur Soccer Association’s Amateur Cup losing to the St. Paul Blackhawks of Minnesota at the National Finals in 2002. We now had a Major A and a Major B team who were competing in the league and cup games. We had fifteen adult and youth soccer teams playing in league, indoor and cup competition. In 2004 our Senior Women traveled to Florida to compete in the US National Open Cup as a “Wild Card Team,” and lost to a strong California team.
Over the years, our club has been the host to many soccer events. We have often hosted the Region I Soccer Cup Finals most recently in 2010 and the USASA National Soccer Cup Finals in 2000, 2002 and 2010. After returning to play in the United Soccer League, our Major Team won the Championship of the United Soccer League for the seventeenth time in 2010). The team also finished as finalist in the East Pa US Open Cup and as Semi-Finalist in the Region I Open Cup. Major Team Coach is Mike Curley and the manager is Werner Fricker III who also serves as General Secretary of the United Soccer League (elected in 2010). Major Captain was Jason Karasow. Team members were: Brian Blesi, Brian Bowers, Blair Carson, Dave Castellanos, Sanaldo Carvalho, Kevin Coleman, Jim Davis, Zak Fayer, Matt Hemberger, Jason Karasow, Ben Marucci, Andrew Meehan, Ptah Myers, Tim O’Neill, Jeremy Ortiz, Tony Rod, Kevin Sherry, Dave Straub, Ryan Tadley, Eric Talbot, Ryan Tarrant, Ken Tomczuk, Will Thornton, and Andrew Weyershaeuser.
In addition to the Major Team, the club operated the Ultra Men’s Team, the Premier, Over 30, Under 23, Fury Major Women’s Team and Dragon Women’s Team.
The Phila. Old Timers Soccer Association has existed for many years and has inducted many local soccer players and officials into their “Hall of Fame,” among them many of our members. As far as our club was concerned this sort of fell by the wayside for many years but in the 2000s we once again submitted members for this honor. Among those so honored during this time were: Peter Piskei, Heinz Guckert, Adam Piskei, Betty Ann Kempf, Arthur Jethon, Henry Wagner, John Paul, Al Nothum, Joe Hutflus and Karl Kreutzer. There may have been more but unfortunately our records to not include them. We have however discontinued to submit candidates for this honor. Why?
Our Youth Soccer Camps were run by our Senior Men’s Program with Bob Wilkinson as the director. Besides Bob, coaches were members of our Major Team and other well known local players. These camps have been quite successful and have continued in some form or other to the present day still under the direction of Bob Wilkinson.
Under Andy’s leadership as our Soccer Director, he has taken the youth program to another level by building on the accomplishments of the Adult program as well as his own experience as a product of the German Hungarian Junior and Major teams. In 2010 we had 7 boy’s teams and 5 girl’s teams at various ages. These continue today and are quite competitive and have earned much success. Our Youth Soccer academy provided instruction to youngsters between ages of 3 to 9 and was quite successful under the direction of Jennifer and Michael Lowry and their coaching staff.
Beginning in 1960 at our 50th anniversary, we began to present awards at ten year intervals to members for their dedicated service to our club. These individuals received an Ehrenwuerdig German Hungarian Pin. Approximately 130 received this award prior to 2000 and 24 received this award in 2000. In 2010 another 24 were thus awarded. The next awards should take place in 2020.
In 2000 our Cultural Group consisted of the Schuhplattler Group, a Junior Dance Group and a Children’s Dance Group. Today we consist of the German Hungarian Dancers, a Schuhplattler Group and a Children’s Group. Many of the 2000 Junior Dance Group and the Children are now the members of the Schuhplattler Group and not only plattel but do complicated folk dancing, Viennese waltzes, etc. They all perform at our Kirchweihs which had evolved from a three day tent festival to a three day clubhouse festival to a one day festival to an evening celebration which we now celebrate in early November. As always this is our most important German Hungarian Traditional Event and is always a huge success.
Our Children’s Group still continue to provide entertainment for our Club Christmas Party as they have since their founding in 1965. They also continue to attend the Gauverband’s Annual Kinderfest which has been held by various mid-Atlantic area Schuhplattler clubs for twenty years. Since the Gauverband began including Children Schuhplattler Einzel Dancers, our children also perform Schuhplattling and participate in the Mid-Atlantic Youth Einzel Plattler Competition.
Our Women’s Auxiliary in 2000 was about a dozen senior women although the younger generation always helped whenever needed. Now, although many of the seniors are still active, the next generation is the driving force. The Spring and Fall Penny Parties are still the Women’s most popular events. As originally, the Women are involved with all aspects of our club and can be found in the kitchen, behind the bar, or wearing an apron holding a brush cleaning our clubhouse.
The same spirit of care takes place on our Grounds and Fields as a dedicated group “The Groundhogs” under the direction of Steve Grabowski and Barry Harvey make it their personal mission to maintain and improve our fields.
Other Grounds chairmen during this period were John Reiter and Chris Schrier.
Since the year 2000, our Kitchen, Rental and Catering areas have gone through a series of changes. In early 2000, Andy Weyershaeuser and Jim Pack overlooked this committee; in 2001, manager Dennis Wilfong and chef Mike Bavij continued with catering and rentals; later when the BVV made our club their home, their cook, Mike Solcanski led our kitchen staff; after Mike’s sudden death, we were left in a void in our operations but soon Joe and Tina Joyce were announced as our catering specialists. The Joyces did not work out for us and the Fronceks were hired for this job. After a while Heidi Weyershaeuser became our cooking specialist under the chairmanship of Janet Malofiy. Heidi still helps out whenever necessary but over the years we have hired two cooks who cater our dinner events. Recently Janet chose to retire from her Cultural Group Chairman and is now the official Kitchen-Catering chairman and does an excellent job.
Kathi Noel was our Entertainment Chairman into the mid-2000s. With her retirement from this position, our president Bill Galgon assumed this position and with his committee worked untiringly.
In the beginning of the 2000s the Bar Chairman was John Koschewitz but since about 2003, Sasha Malofiy has assumed this job and continues in this position. He has overseen the modernization of both the newly named “Trophy Bar” and the “Alpine Bar” and seems to enjoy this job.
Recently, Werner Fricker III was appointed as House Chairman. It is his job to see to the proper maintenance of our club building. Werner follows Charlie Young, Joe Hartmann and John P. Hubert who also served during the 2000s.
The club has been publishing our newsletter, the Monthly Progress, since 1946 when it was founded by Ted Kereczmann. During the 2000s, Emily Fricker served as the Editor. In 2002 the Progress got a new look when a new masthead was designed by Joe Hartmann and perfected by Dieter Abendroth and his staff at Anchor Printing. However a more significant change occurred in 2004 when we began printing the newsletter ourselves. This has proved efficient and in 2005 we began to send the newsletter to our members electronically. Most of our members have taken advantage of this process. Francis P. Weber wrote a humorous and informative column entitled “Philadelphia German Hungarians” which told not only about club life, but about life in Philadelphia in the early 1900s. Franny wrote this column until the time of his death in 2008.
In 2001 we launched a Website at the address, http://www.ughclub.us and we strive to keep this up to date and informative about our Cultural, Soccer and Social Programs. In 2008 a club facebook page was created and in 2009 the German Hungarians began a twitter account.
On any given Sunday when there are youth and adult soccer games the word of the day is Sunday Funday. The players, coaches, friends and SuperFans are known to have a great time, usually in the trophy bar.
As a founding member of the Steuben Day Observance Association’s Annual Parade which is now held in Mayfair on Frankford Avenue, we participate with all German American Organizations both at the parade in September and at an annual German American Day usually held in June. Our club takes turns with the Cannstatter and Vereinigung Erzgebirge to host this event. Both these events are not quite as popular as they once were but the group is striving to encourage more enthusiasm and pride in these events and some of our club members are now involved in this endeavor.
In 2006 we held a third Cultural Exhibit and Trachtenfest with our friends from the Trenton Donauschwaben and the Philadelphia Donauschwaben. Over the years we have attained a strong friendship with these groups and have attended the National Landestreffen of the Danube Swabians yearly hosting this event at our club in 2010. In 2013, the three clubs hosted a group “The Banater Swabians” from Germany at our club. This event proved successful with over 400 people in attendance. Members of our dance group have developed friendship with the German group and keep in contact through the internet.
During 2010, the year we celebrated our 100th anniversary, many interesting events took place. Since our club was founded in November 1910, we decided to have our gala anniversary banquet in November, the same as we did with our 75th anniversary. So we spent the entire year celebrating. We tried to make every event special and we succeeded. Beside our yearly events, we were hosts to the 7th Mid-Atlantic Jugend Einzelplatteln; held an Austrian Heuriger featuring our folk dancers and music by the Sha-Musi; our former soccer players enjoyed the GH Soccer Team Reunion which was attended by three generation of players; (A great time! Let’s do it again soon.); hosted the USASA Region I Cup Finals and the USASA National Soccer Cup Finals; proudly hosted for the first time the National Landestreffen of the Danube Swabian and this was one of the most significant events we have ever held; began archiving various material and photos from our past which you can research at ugharchiving1 on picasa.com (this project is still in progress and hopefully will continue into the future); and published a cook book “Mahlzeit” featuring authentic German Hungarian recipes. At our gala banquet, not only were 20 members honored with the “Ehrenwuerdig” pin but Emily Fricker and Andrew Weyershaeuser were the recipients of a “Lifetime Service Award”.
We also published an informative souvenir book and later a special 12 page issue of the Progress was printed about the celebration. Many of our local German American clubs and friends and both our Donauschwaben and Schuhplattler friends were on hand to celebrate this event. It was a wonderful evening.
Many interesting and exciting things have happened at the German Hungarian Club during the last five years, for example we hosted and won the National Danube Swabian Memorial Day soccer tournament in 2011. Some have been mentioned in the last two months articles however we will put a great emphasis on the years of 2010 to 2015 in our Commemorative Book in 2015.
However, I must mention the “Millions Cried … No One Listened” Conference which was hosted by our club on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21, 2012. The conference focused on the expulsion of millions of ethnic Germans living in Central Eastern Europe after World War II. This was not a fun event. It was a most interesting and informative two days about the history of various groups of German people who migrated to the eastern European countries beginning in the year 1000 and came forward to the year 1943. If you attended this event, you appreciated it. If you did not, you missed an extraordinary piece of history.
When I began writing this article in December 2013, I wanted to write about a certain period in our club life. It didn’t turn out like I thought it would. I didn’t realize that we do so very much in a few years time. We are very busy people! I realize that I certainly didn’t mention all our activities and all the people who make our club successful, but I sure covered a lot. I hope you took the time to read the three articles entitled “A Look To The Past” and either realize that you were a part of these activities or maybe you would like to become a part of our activities.
Exciting and interesting things are in store for the United German Hungarians in the foreseeable future. I hope you and I can be a part of this!